Tzaddik Media

Formerly New Heart, New Spirit

What is the Sheet in Peter's Vision?

Remember Peter's vision from Acts Ch. 10? Ever wonder what the sheet-like thing was that descended from heaven? We believe we might have found the answer. Just in case you have forgotten (or perhaps never heard of it), let's take a look at the text:

Acts 10:9-16 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet knit at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him,“Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

How does Peter describe the sheet? He says that it is “a great sheet knit at the four corners” (10:11). Then Peter tells us in Acts 11:5 that the sheet itself was lowered down from heaven by the four corners. OK, here’s the amazing part: guess what “great sheet” literally is in Hebrew: “tallit gadol”. Guess what the name of a Jewish prayer shawl is: literally “tallit gadol”. And when it says that the sheet was lowered by its four corners… what was “knit” into the four corners? Tzitzit. When Peter says he saw a “great sheet” with "knit" corners he probably saw a “tallit gadol” being lowered from the sky by tzitzit. What was Peter doing at the time when he received the vision? He was doing the afternoon prayer (called "mincha") (Acts 10:9-10). What was the whole vision about in the first place though? God was telling Peter that the Gentiles (who were traditionally seen as “unclean” contrary to God's Law) were not supposed to be called unclean, thus allowing the apostles to preach to them also. This isn’t even the end of it though. Interestingly enough, remember when the prophets say that God’s Temple will be called a “house of prayer” for every nation? What is a prayer shawl/ tallit gadol used for? Praying. What was Peter’s vision about? Salvation for the Gentiles so that one day God’s house could be called a house of prayer for all nations.